Chen Institute Diversity and Inclusion Awards 2021
The Chen Institute is delighted to announce the recipients of this year's Chen Institute Diversity and Inclusion Awards. These awards, for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in neuroscience at Caltech, are intended to recognize active individuals for the uncompensated time and effort they are dedicating to achieve diversity and inclusion at Caltech, the wider community and in STEM education. Each recipient is highly deserving of this award, they are all committed leaders bringing awareness to diversity and inclusion, and promoting equal opportunities.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Bronner lab
Erica has demonstrated a strong commitment to advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Caltech, in the Pasadena community, and academia at large. Erica is a member of the Pasadena branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a group that is dedicated to leveling the playing field for women in STEM. Erica served on a planning committee (2014 - 2019) that organizes a science outreach event ("Tech Savvy") for 6th–9th grade girls in the Pasadena Unified School District. Erica recruited volunteers from within the Caltech community to participate, as well as personally developing and leading hands-on workshops and securing funding to support the event for two years (2018-2019). In addition to K-12 outreach, Erica is committed to mentoring underserved and underrepresented groups at the college and graduate levels through various programs including the BUILD PODER program at California State University Northridge (CSUN) and the Women Mentoring Women program at Caltech.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Prober lab
Daniel is dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion within the scientific community and STEM education. Daniel serves on the executive leadership board of the Wiseburn Education Foundation (WEF), an organization focused on enhancing STEM education in the Wiseburn Unified School District (WUSD), one of the most socioeconomically diverse districts in California. At WEF, Dan serves as a Trustee, Secretariat, and Board Member of the Diversity Equity Inclusion Committee where he develops community programming with a focus on equity. He collaborates with WUSD and WEF to create additional science outreach events that feature female and/or non-white scientists doing and or explaining science. He has created an online program "Empowering Evidence-based Scientific Teaching (EEST) Program", to provide additional access to science education for marginalized groups traditionally not exposed to formal scientific education in K-5 classrooms. Dan is currently working to secure funding for this program.
Chen Graduate Fellow, Rotating First Year
Daniel is actively working to promote diversity, inclusion and equity within the Caltech Community, the wider community and STEM education. He is an active member of Caltech for Black Lives, a newly formed coalition which provides support to the Caltech's growing Black community. He is part of the Visiting Scientists program through Caltech's Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach (CTLO), through this program he worked virtually with third graders on various scientific topics every week for 10 weeks. He also exchanged letters with young students about becoming a scientist through the Letters to a Pre-Scientist program. He has also developed an accessible neuroscience project, as part of a Backyard Brains internship, and is planning to hold demonstrations at local Pasadena schools.
Chen Graduate Fellow, CNS, Andersen lab
Isabelle cares deeply about addressing issues surrounding diversity and inclusion both at Caltech and in the wider STEM community. On campus Isabelle is an advocate for admissions and equity reform. She, along with graduate colleagues, was responsible for a petition to remove the GRE requirement on applications. She is the president of the ‘Neurotechers', a student led organization that helps to provide a supportive and inclusive community to neuroscience students and postdocs. Which also provides a forum for important dialogue on issues of diversity and inclusion on campus. This summer Isabelle will be a mentor for the iSTEM Scholars mentorship program where she will mentor underrepresented and underserved students at high school level from across the US, introducing them to the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology.